The Carolina Panthers decided to take the week off as they dropped to 1-3 with a humiliating loss against the Atlanta Falcons. A lot of walking off. Let’s get this over with.
Andy Lee & Graham Gano: Gano hit a 54-yard field and Andy Lee had multiple punts that pinned the Falcons inside their own three. Yes, the two kickers
None: Nothing was even worthy of being bad.
The Walk Off
Everything: This was the worst performance I’ve seen from the Panthers in almost two years. I literally can’t think of a single thing that the offense or defense did well. This game was so bad that I stopped watching midway through the third quarter and started watching the Cleveland Browns. Yes, the Panthers were so bad that they drove me into watching the fucking Browns
I don’t know what they’re doing on offense. The Falcons defense came into the game ranked 30th in the league and they completely stifled what is supposed to be a good Panthers offense. There’s no running game without Jonathan Stewart and there’s just no passing game. Kelvein Benjamin was once again a non-factor. Julio Jones had a quiet game for the Falcons last week, and they made it a point to feature him this week. Matt Ryan forced a couple of passes to him, but he’s so damn good that he made the catch anyway. Cam made no effort to get the ball to Benjamin. He was off target on the simplest of throws and the line once again gave him very little protection. I don’t know if it’s Cam or the play calling, but this is not the offense that we saw last season. Hell, this offense isn’t even what we saw under John Fox. I don’t know what this offense is other than garbage.
Just as bad as the offense was the defense. Julio Jones had a spectacular game, but it wasn’t just him. Matt Ryan had an open receiver on every single play of the game. And it wasn’t an open receiver for a three yard gain, they were open 20 yards down the field. The front four once again got no pressure, the Falcons and Ryan actually recognize and pick up blitz plays, and the secondary was confused all game. The injury to James Bradberry on the first drive of the game didn’t help, but these issues go much deeper than one cornerback. The Panthers scheme is predicated on pressure from upfront. When that pressure isn’t there, things fall apart. That pressure hasn’t been there all season. The defense bit on every single play-action, leading to huge gains. The Falcons had a 98-yard and 99-yard TD drive. And neither were difficult. There was absolutely no resistance from the Panthers defense.
And, of course, the coaches couldn’t figure a damn thing out. Jones torched the team in the first half, so they decided to keep the same coverage on him and let him torch the team in the second half as well. They kept trying to stick to the run game despite the lopsided score and put the team in long third down situations. Ron Rivera and his coordinators have no clue how to adapt to the situation. It was a problem all last season, but it’s just now starting to get noticed because it’s resulting in losses.
This was an embarrassing performance. Everyone on the team should be embarrassed. From the coaches to the players to the front office guys to the guys who get paid to buy floss for Cam.
I don’t care that they mounted a small comeback in the fourth quarter before ultimately losing. The Falcons obviously let up and the Panthers took advantage of that. I’m not giving them any credit for that. You can’t expect to show up for one quarter and win games in the NFL.
10/10. The Broncos and Vikings losses were explainable. Being 1-2 and heading into Atlanta, the team that ended your perfect season last year and the only team that’s a threat in the division, and coming up with that performance and effort is inexcusable. This week is the Buccaneers, at home, on Monday Night. It’s a game that the team should win, but I really have my doubts.